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Agriculture

DMK 2020: Agriculture

Agriculture produces the valuable raw material milk which is the basis of our products. Our more than 8,600 dairy farmers all over Germany are the owners of the DMK GROUP. Our aspiration is to increase the well-being of our cows and at the same time reduce their environmental impact. Both goals can be achieved by keeping the cattle in proper conditions, systematic health management, responsible feed cultivation and appropriate feeding.  The Milkmaster Programme supports the dairy farmers in implementing the demanding task of combining entrepreneurial success and sustainability now and in the future.  Go to Overview of DMK 2020 >

Cow comfort

Only happy cows give high-quality milk. The extent of a cow's well-being depends on a variety of factors. They include exercise and the opportunity to move around freely, the space in the cowshed, the resting areas – in particular, special ones for sick and calving cows - the climate in the cowshed and the use of cow brushes. The dairy farmers take a variety of measures, which are incorporated in our Milkmaster Programme, to ensure the cows' well-being. Modern cowsheds offer cows a high degree of comfort all round. 

Animal health

The health of the cows is the foundation of responsible milk production. It influences the quality and safety of the milk and therefore of food. Veterinary offices conduct the legally prescribed random sample tests at all German dairy farms. Animal health management on the farms is carried out using modern measuring methods and regular external monitoring. Topics such as the proper use of antibiotics are also included. All these aspects are embedded in our Milkmaster Programme. DMK works together with partners along the entire value chain to further improve the health of the cattle. 

Feed cultivation

Feedstuffs have become a stronger focus of the general public over the last few years; retailers are therefore currently focusing on freedom from GMOs. Other stakeholders, in particular environmental protection organisations, have the sustainable cultivation of soya in particular in their sights. Since the start of 2016, the DMK group has changed over to GMO-free feed in selected regions and at selected sites and offers GMO-free products on the market on the basis of the German directive of the VLOG standard. Within the framework of Milkmaster, DMK addresses the topic of sustainability of import feed, in particular soya, which is important for some stakeholders. The focus with Milkmaster is on soya from certified sources on the basis of FEFAC guidelines, which are now the established European standard for sustainable feed.

Feeding

A dairy cow weighing 550 to 700kg drinks around 140 litres of water a day and eats 60kg of feed (fresh mass), particularly roughage (grass silage, maize silage, grass) and high-energy, high-performance feed to boost milk yields (cereals, grain maze, rape, soya). Balanced, correct feeding is ensured by the optimum technical conditions for feeding and drinking and high-quality feed. The manner of feeding is central to climate protection. In a feeding experiment in 2014, a reduction in methane production per litre of milk was achieved at some farms because less methane formed in the cows' rumens. The same effect is also obtained by a higher milk yield.

Focus

Agriculture

Our Milkmaster Programme
Good farm animal welfare

Milkmaster is DMK 2020's implementation programme for the dairy farmers, with which DMK sets standards for more sustainability in the dairy industry's agricultural working and production methods. The DMK milk producers were closely involved in the development and adoption of the programme, which was launched in 2014 and with its integration in the milk supply regulation has been binding for all milk producers since the start of 2016. The core of the Milkmaster Programme lies in our farms' continuous further development in issues relating to animal welfare, nature conservation and quality. A production code ensures standardised alignment on topics such as feeding, animal welfare, animal health, the rearing of calves and young livestock and milk storage. Many of the topics that are relevant to customers and the public are addressed in the Milkmaster Programme

Proper loose housing meets our high requirements on animal welfare, animal health and optimum feeding conditions. Modern cubicle sheds provide space for exercise and facilities for resting and lying down that are laid out with straw or mats. These sheds provide cows, which feel comfortable at an outside temperature of around 15°C, with suitable conditions and give good opportunities to observe the cattle or give them additional feed individually, e.g. in the case of pregnant cows. The conditions under which cattle are kept are clearly positioned in the Milkmaster Programme. The combination of loose housing systems with access to pasture is welcomed for all cattle (dairy cows and others) where conditions on the farm allow for it. As a cooperative characterised by a wide variety of regions and farms with heterogeneous local conditions under a single umbrella, we see this as a fair balance between animal welfare and farm conditions.